The history of the Zsolnay Factory started in 1853. It was then that Miklós Zsolnay turned the hard tile manufactory at Lukafa into Zsolnay Hard Tile Manufactory. In 1854, he amended the incorporation documents, and transferred the company to his eldest son, Ignác. By the mid-1870s, the factory had a staff of between fifteen and twenty, and its development was secured by the efforts of both foreign experts and members of the Zsolnay family. Both Vilmos and his children, Teréz, Júlia and Miklós contributed to product development, expanding the range, and establishing and maintaining customer relations.
It was at the Paris World Expo in 1878 that Vilmos Zsolnay garnered international success. His invention, high-fire glazed porcelain faience, won him the Gold Medal at the Expo, and a Legion of Honour Award from the French government.
Vilmos Zsolnay built on the experimental results of Vince Wartha and Lajos Petrik in developing his own lustre technology in the 1890s, and he named it eosin. The implementation of the eosin technology inspired the blossoming of art nouveau in the factory.
The factory lost use of the Zsolnay name and brand after World War II, and only regained it in 1974, under an agreement with Margit Mattyasovszky-Zsolnay. The independence of the manufactory was restored in 1982, and one of the most important developments at the time was resuming the production of tableware in larger quantities. As demand for ornamental objects steadily rose in Hungary, an increasing number of specialist outlets opened outside Budapest, and Zsolnay also continuously developed its international relationships (in the UK, Austria, Italy, the West Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Iraq, and Iran).